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Image: Getty
Image: Getty

Press release -

Drivers planning nearly 21m leisure trips as most schools break up for Easter

An estimated 20.8m leisure trips will be taken by drivers this weekend as many schools across the UK break up for the Easter holidays, new figures from the RAC suggest.*

A survey of 1,435 drivers’ plans suggests that Saturday is likely to see the greatest numbers on the roads – with some 5.6m getaway journeys expected – followed by Friday, the day when many school terms finish ahead of Easter, when around 5m trips will be taken. An additional 5.6m trips are predicted to be taken at some point between Friday and the end of Sunday, with these drivers unsure on exactly which day they’ll go away.

Data from transportation analytics specialists INRIX suggests that early starts or postponing journeys until later in the day today, Saturday and Sunday could be the best way of avoiding any queues, with major roads expected to be particularly busy between 10am and 3pm over the weekend.

Separate RAC research** found that just a fifth of drivers (19%) say they always check their cars are ‘road-ready’ for making a trip around Easter, increasing the potential for breakdowns to ruin the start of families’ Easter breaks. Half of drivers (51%) said they sometimes check their cars over before setting out but an alarming 30% said they never do. The RAC is therefore reminding people of the importance of spending some time checking their vehicles’ oil, coolant and tyres to ensure as many trouble-free journeys by road in the coming days as possible.

RAC traffic spokesperson Rod Dennis said:

“We’re expecting to see two big waves of Easter holiday traffic over the next few weeks – one this weekend as many schools break up, and other the following one which coincides with the bank holiday and a long weekend for a lot of people.

“With many people likely to be travelling longer distances than they have for several months, reducing the chance of their cars letting them down is more important than ever. Checking oil and coolant levels, as well as tyre pressure and tread depth, can drastically reduce the chances of a breakdown and we’d urge every driver planning a trip in the coming days to put aside some time to do this – it could make the difference between a straightforward trip or one stuck at the side of the road.”

Travel this weekend


Leisure trips by car

Worst times to travel on major roads

Suggested best times to travel on major roads

Worst road for long delays

Friday 8 April


Between 1100 and 1900hrs

After 2000hrs

M25 Clockwise J8 to J16 mid-afternoon

A303 approaching Stonehenge around middle of the day

Saturday 9 April


Between 1000 and 1500hrs

After 1600hrs

M25 Clockwise J8 to J16 around middle of the day

A303 approaching Stonehenge around middle of the day

Sunday 10 April


Between 1000 and 1500hrs

After 1600hrs

M25 Clockwise J8 to J16 early evening

A303 approaching Stonehenge late morning

Data sources: RAC and INRIX

Top tips for avoiding – or just coping – with the jams


Think carefully about when to travel

Most traffic queues are caused by too many cars on the same roads at the same time. If you can travel outside the peak times – think early in the morning or later in the evening – you can easily miss them.


Make sure your vehicle is properly prepared

Many breakdowns are avoidable – punctures for instance can be caused by a tyre that is in poor condition or not inflated properly. Check oil and coolant levels as if these run low you could be in for an unwelcome breakdown and a big repair bill. Read the RAC's full guide to avoiding a breakdown


Keep you and your passengers happy

Hungry, thirsty or tired passengers are recipes for in-car irritability – and ‘carguments’. So when setting out, pack enough food and water to keep your passengers happy, and plan in enough breaks along the way.



* Figures based on a survey of 1,435 UK drivers’ travel plans for this weekend

** Based on a survey of 650 UK drivers

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